Saturday, March 18, 2006

Finally--spring break, and a chance to blog a little. (I just updated my Cinema Journal, as well--hoping to write a little every day or so, which is dependent on my watching at least one movie a day, as is one of my goals.) I haven't seen Walk the Line yet.

One of the things I loved about F For Fake was how playful it seemed--along the lines of Vertov's Man with a Movie Camera. Both Welles and Vertov seem to know the constraints of movies, and they push right through them. Welles' metaphor of magic is a constant reminder that editing can create illusions, too, that what we are seeing might not have happened at all. The footage of De Hory and Irving seem in constant dialogue--yet they were filmed entirely independent of one another. But it never seemed arrogant to me, perhaps because there was a beauty to Welles' film I could forgive any immodesty. I actually laugh quite a bit at the movie, even though I've already seen it several times. Welles at the dinner table with two lobsters, the picnic scene with the dogs...even his talent gets a chuckle out of me, the way that seeing a great musician improvising his/her ass off on stage can.

The reason I chose F For Fake was because of its first-person narration, and its similarities to My Architect. Both narrators are also the directors, and there seems to be a double duty of leading the audience both on- and off-screen. Do Kahn and Welles function in a similar manner, though? For Kahn, I think you can feel the tension between him as a director and as a character within the film. There are moments that seem to really hurt him emotionally that really propel the film forward: what his film needs isn't always what he, personally, needs to know regarding his father. Kahn is very much the "I" in an essay; Welles is like the personal voice that emanates from style. (Not to say that one is necessarily "better" than the other.) Welles interacts with his characters, but on his own terms and in his own space; Kahn is never in his own space, on his own ground.

Aside from F for Fake's technical complexity (think about how many disparate elements Welles culled for this project) he seems to be digging into the meaning of film form. For what reasons do we believe a story is true? If we presume we're seeing a documentary from 5PM to 7PM on a Thursday night on The Discovery Channel, does that impact us at all? The deeper element of film genre (which Welles seems to elude like a ______ from a _______, the proper metaphor eluding myself at the moment) saves the opening/closing from being mere kitsch. So, Welles might trick a few viewers (like myself) into believing the Picasso story for a while, but it relates to a larger issue of what it means to be a spectator.

There's a lot more to say, but I'll stop here for now. Time to head to the library before my evening double feature at Anthology Film Archives--a collection of shorts by Alexander Kluge, and his film Yesterday Girl. Lopate has just released a gorgeous new collection (through the Library of America) called "American Movie Critics," an anthology of the best American film critics from Vachel Lindsay to H.D. to Pauline Kael to A.O. Scott.



Blogger mfiore said...

like a slippery eel? a greased pig (maybe that's tactless)...

8:34 AM  

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